Canada’s Food Inflation Findings May Be Too Hot to Handle

In this piece, Charlebois pointed to soon-to-be made updates in the way Statistics Canada captures food price data. This includes important changes that will see redundant food products dropped from the list, along with numerous new products that will be added. “This new list will likely be more reflective of the modern diet,” stated Charlebois. This includes bringing this report closer to Canada’s most recent food guide, which is now three-years old.

Here’s the problem. As indicated by Charlebois, “According to Statistics Canada’s note, once the new list is posted, we won’t be able to go back beyond March 2022 to access food prices. So getting any historical perspective on the new food basket won’t be possible.”

He goes on to say, “However, this move is generally not great news for Canadians. We can only believe StatsCan is admitting its reading of food inflation over the last few years has been inaccurate and that its approach needed a complete overhaul.”

Charlebois suggests that Canadians keep weekly flyers as a means of tracking short-term moves in prices.

At the bottom of Statistics Canada’s February Consumer Price Index report, the agency stated, “The Monthly Average Retail Prices for Food and Other Selected Products (table 18-10-0002-01) table will no longer be published after March 16, 2022. Note that these tables are not directly comparable due to methodological differences, and do not contain all the same products and may contain different product definitions.” (…)

My guess is that this statement was widely missed, and users of this data will not receive this information well. Perhaps users should decide how data can be utilized, rather than to delete 25 years of price data.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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